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Old 12-23-2006, 08:48 PM   #1
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hitch on the rear?

so,

What about welding a hitch to the rear bumper of my 62 safari in order to push it into place in my yard(and then occasionally pull it back into the driveway to take it camping? the rear hitch would only be to move it that 2o feeet or so in my yard. I think with its uniframe construction it should be perfectly feasible. What do you think?
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Old 12-23-2006, 09:53 PM   #2
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If you let the jack down in the front, the back bumper and hitch at the back of the trailer will go up. You will need to use the jack to push the hitch back down onto the ball and then raise the jack again to get clearance. Otherwise, you might get away with it but have to answer some strange questions the first time you show up at a campground. An alternate is using one of those battery powered jack dollies that are advertised.
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Old 12-25-2006, 12:02 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joemccusker
What about welding a hitch to the rear bumper of my 62 safari in order to push it into place in my yard(and then occasionally pull it back into the driveway to take it camping? the rear hitch would only be to move it that 2o feet or so in my yard. I think with its uniframe construction it should be perfectly feasible. What do you think?
I believe many people would not agree that the frame and shell constitute a unibody or monocoque construction. They are two different structures joined together at the floor perimeter, each with their individual flex characteristics. Frames were a lot lighter back then. The rear shell-bumper junction is prone to caulking breakdown on every older unit I've heard of and water leaks in. The plywood floor holds the shell to the frame back there and is subject to rot damage on the perimeter. Fasteners corrode and go away in these circumstances.

Look at the dynamics of this proposal. The empty '62 22' Safari without options was 3050# with a hitch weight of 420#. With weight distribution gear, propane in the tank, personal gear & maybe water, your hitch weight is something over 500#. Either of these numbers are a lot of mass to bounce on a long lever arm forward of the axle. There will be flexing of the frame behind the axles under this proposal -- one, from dead weight alone and two, added flex from moving the trailer.

Unless recently and very capably restored I would guess that most Airstreams have some issues at the rear bumper area -- a few at 10 years and a lot at 20, 30 and 40 years. The following test might hurt -- either your trailer or your understanding of its current condition. Put jack stands on the right and left frame next to where your axle is mounted. Take the most coordinated 250# person you know and have them jump up and down on the rear bumper while you kneel and look at the frame-bumper junction. Have them first jump on one side and then the other. Let them start gently but stop as soon as you see anything. Count your lucky stars if you see absolutely no movement -- but I think this bumper hitch proposal could damage the old fragile structures involved. This type of test isn't excessive compared to the normal forces of riding down the road.

I'd be very curious how squirrelly this would be maneuvering. I'd have to try it first on a toy setup to see. What advantages would you gain by parking a trailer tongue-first into a yard or campsite? Backing up a trailer the normal way is too simple for me to understand why you'd turn this on its ear. Now I have seen people with very tight side yard clearances put a hitch ball on the front of their tow vehicle to push their trailer. Are you wanting the door pointed in a specific direction once you have it in your back yard?
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Old 12-25-2006, 06:05 AM   #4
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Arrow Hitch on the rear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by joemccusker
so,

What about welding a hitch to the rear bumper of my 62 safari in order to push it into place in my yard(and then occasionally pull it back into the driveway to take it camping? the rear hitch would only be to move it that 2o feeet or so in my yard. I think with its uniframe construction it should be perfectly feasible. What do you think?
Hey Joe; Canoestream in a very polite way has explained to you why it should not be done. Me, the Boatdoc, with two engineering degrees will not be so polite and I will advise you very strongly not to do it. Back of the frame has no linear strength built into it. It's rigidity depends on being a part of the shell as one unit. With the hitch attached to the bumper and even if you had a good dolly under the parking jack, any directional loads and tire resistance in turns will place too much stress on the shell, due to lack of diagonal bracing in the rear. The back end of the frame was not designed to counterbalance the tongue weight either. While it may solve your parking issue, price you may pay for it will make you wish you did not go there. Sorry for the blunt reply, but this is not a contest for most politically correct advise. Thanks, "Boatdoc" Merry Christmas to All.
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Old 12-25-2006, 06:44 AM   #5
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I couldn't asy it any better than boatdoc plus doing so would effectively kill most any value it might have down the road should you ever consider selling it. Most of us wouldn't ever purchase any unit that had a trailer hitch welded to it.
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Old 12-25-2006, 08:39 AM   #6
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CanoeStream & BoatDoc gave you the "why". The question now is how much stress can the rear of an Airstream take then?

There are some units out there with a 2" reciever welded on for a slide-in bicycle rack. A generic bicycle rack with two average bikes on is capable of causing damage and body separation. If just a hundred or so pounds hanging out there can damage your trailer just bouncing up and down a little on the road, just think what trying to move the weight of the entire trailer around would do.

I think the consensus is: "Don't try it."

Roger
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Old 12-25-2006, 09:00 AM   #7
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i would think a trailer dolly like they sell at harbor frieght would do the job.

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Old 12-25-2006, 11:54 AM   #8
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Our Airstream has a 2" receiver welded to to the frame under the rear bumper. It is also wired with a four contact trailer plug. We had this installed by the Airstream dealer when we bought Lucy new. We installed this receiver so that we can use our LED step light unit when underway. This step light unit has eleven red LEDs across it. The two ends and middle are running lights. The four LEDs in between on each side are are brake lights and turn indicators. We think that this unit is a major safety factor in not being rear ended. We switch unit between the Airstream and the Suburban as we unhook and rehook. We also run another one on our Tahoe.

When these LED brake lights come on, they are sufficiently bright to awaken the little airhead girl in the car behind you who has one week of driving experience, is talking on her cell phone, and looking in her rear view mirror while applying her lip gloss.

I have a close friend who was following behind me in another vehicle recently who told me that when my LED bake lights come on it is very annoying to be behind me. That's exactly the reaction I'm looking for.

So, when you see an Airstream with a 2" receiver installed, it does not always mean something is wrong or the owner is unstable.
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Old 12-25-2006, 12:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags
This step light unit has eleven red LEDs across it.
Hi moosetags,

Sounds interesting. What does it look like and where did you get it?
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Old 12-25-2006, 01:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Hi moosetags,

Sounds interesting. What does it look like and where did you get it?
Here are a couple of pictures of my unit on the Suburban. One shows the three running lights on. The other shows the brake lights on.

I got these from a guy who makes them in El Paso. I found him on Ebay. Run Ebay Item number 30058704438. The item is ended, but you can contact the guy in El Paso with that info. He sells them for $70.00 + $15.00 shipping. they are very nicely made out of aluminum. I have two of them and think that they are a bargain.
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Old 12-25-2006, 08:49 PM   #11
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I forgot to mention that these LED units are also an excellent step. I use it all the time when loading the Suburban. It is large, strong, and topped with powder-coated aluminum diamond plate.
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Old 12-26-2006, 12:37 AM   #12
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Too much lighting? I think not!!!

Moose et al -

Read with great interest about the step/ light combo that you have mounted on your vehicles. I am also a VERY FIRM believer that there is NEVER too much info for the id*%t behind me.... Lived 12 years in and around DC - crazy driver capitol of the universe.

"Line of Fire" also makes an LED light stick which mounts accross the rear of all vehicles - my Burb has it mounted directly above the bumper line, under the rear doors. Looks great, has running, brake and turn signal/ hazard facility. Is hard wired to the vehicle wiring. Works great! Another way to provide info to the mo-ron running 75mph on the bumper... Had 2, yes 2!!!, people center punch their radiators on the 2 inch reciever before the mount of the LoF, none since.... not scientific, but it is real life experience.

LoF was about $90 at the aftermarket place in town, probably cheaper on the web, but I wanted it wired correctly and the price included install... Tough to beat that price with install.

WILL be adding this to SilverToy - mounts right on top of the bumper, under the 3rd brake light, but hey! the LED's are WAY brighter than what is on there now.... Still looking for decent LED brake, back, turn lights - anyone???

Peace

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Old 12-26-2006, 07:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags

So, when you see an Airstream with a 2" receiver installed, it does not always mean something is wrong or the owner is unstable.
Are you sure?

Seriously, that's a great use for a reciever on the back! What a cool idea!

Roger
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:20 PM   #14
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The PO of my '86 Sovereign 25' had a 2" receiver tube and support bar welded to the frame in order to carry a light weight bicycle carrier. I had an aluminum plate welded to a 6" long alum. tube and bolted a 75th Anniversary Airstream license plate to it.
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